Innate Health: a novel examination of what explains well-being, prosocial behaviour, and aggression among men living in a UK prison.

graphic of a man in a crowd of anonymous people
Jeanne Catherine
Adriaan Denkers
Anita McGinty

Jeanne Catherine & Adriaan Denkers, PhD & Anita McGinty, PhD

February 1, 2023

Jeanne is the co-founder, COO, and lead scientist of Innate Health ResearchAdriaan is the senior research scientist and advisor at Innate Health Research.Anita is the co-founder and CEO of Innate Health Research, a psychologist and academic leader in education.

...compared to controls, participants in the intervention condition report higher levels of innate health, self-control, prosocial behavior and lower levels of aggression......


Knowledge about one’s innate health is central to a variety of positive mental health markers. However, men living in prison rarely receive education about how to access these internal resources. As such, this study seeks to replicate and extend emerging data on an innate health intervention. Volunteers from HMP Nottingham, England (n=126) participated in normal prison programming and the intervention group (n=65) received an additional 3-day intensive. The primary question: Does innate health function as a mediator in the same way self-control does within an incarcerated population? We conducted a mediation analysis, tested social desirability bias, and examined the impact of the intervention on crucial variables. This study found higher levels of innate health, self-control, well-being, and pro-social behavior and lower levels of aggression in the intervention group as compared to the control group. Importantly, innate health did play a mediating role equivalent to and/or partnering with self-control.


Integral to the introduction of positive psychology was Seligman’s insight into raising his daughter Nikki—it ‘is about taking this marvelous strength she has’ (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000, p. 6). This philosophical stance that something is already in existence, that she has and therefore everyone has—some internal, integral, or natural essence that can help each of us—underlies any intervention designed to realize human potential. Smith et al.'s (2019) review found that knowledge about one’s internal development capacity improved well-being even in the face of illness and has a significant impact on the framing and reasoning one makes about life events (i.e., meaning-making; Baumeister, 1991). Changes in appraisal and meaning-making are well-recognized processes for improving well-being outcomes such as emotional regulation and coping activities (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Unfortunately, marginalized groups (such as prisoners) receive few mental health programs that offer a health-promoting focus (Woodall & Freeman, 2021), for example, positive psychology, inner strength development, and/or well-being interventions. Additionally, this realization capacity or innate health stance is rarely delivered directly, articulated clearly, operationalized, and/or empirically evidenced. This study seeks to replicate and extend emerging data on the Insight to Well-being program, an innate health intervention showing promise within a prison rehabilitation setting...

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